From time to time, the Economist, to which I subscribe, pesters me to take an online survey, and sometimes I do (particularly if I’m on a boring telecon). This week I did one that veered into issues of design—there was one question that showed interiors of four sample apartments and asked which one I’d pick for a rental. Then there was a question that I thought was fairly astounding: What do you think is the Twentieth Century’s most iconic piece of design; write in your answer and an explanation. [Updated: I added my candidate, with a picture. One commenter agreed.]
The electric guitar first appeared in recorded music in 1938 and by the middle of the century had be come the dominant instrumental timbre in most of the world’s most popular music in general, and Rock & Roll in particular. The design is beautiful, functional, and flexible, and that shape has come to stand for many things in many minds, among them, Rock & Roll itself. Which is what I call “iconic”.